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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 20:16 GMT

Canadians delighted by gold

By BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay in Salt Lake City

Canadian pair Jamie Sale and David Pelletier said they were "truly honoured" at finally receiving figure skating gold on Friday.

There has been huge pressure on the International Skating Union to review the controversial decision in the pairs competition which saw Russian duo Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze initially awarded victory last Monday.

And that pressure ultimately paid dividends for the Canadians when the International Olympic Committee accepted the ISU's proposal to award a second gold medal.

"I was expecting it to go on and on"
David Pelletier

"I am happy that justice was done, but that doesn't take anything anyway from Elena and Anton," Pelletier explained.

"Our action was not against them - it was against the system.

"At some points this week, I have felt like going down a skeleton track without a helmet.

"I remember that mistake by a judge in the synchronised swimming that should have taken five minutes to resolve, but instead took a year.

"So I was expecting it to go on and on, and I am quite surprised it has been resolved so soon."

A smiling Sale added: "The fact we have to share gold doesn't matter one bit - our performance was a gold medal performance."

"We thank everyone for their tremendous support, and we hope the inquiry continues so the truth eventually comes out."

"I do feel a little sad that other athletes are not getting in the spotlight"
David Pelletier

"We have tried to enjoy the Olympics as much as we can in the meantime, but today came as a real shock. When we were told, it was amazing."

The pair are now expected to receive their medal in a ceremony during the final figure skating event, the ladies' free, next Thursday.

"We would like to be able to have the national anthem and raise our flag," Pelletier continued.

"But I am sure they will give the medal to us the best way they can. And I will be proud to accept it on behalf of everyone who has fought our cause.

"All we need is the bronze now to complete our collection," he quipped.

With their battle finally won, the pair also pleaded for the world's attention to refocus on the other athletes, and sporting achievements at the Salt Lake Games.

"I don't feel guilty about all this," he said. "But I do feel a little sad that other athletes are not getting the spotlight they deserve.

"Let's get life back to normal - the Games go on."


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